Coronnials turn two and are going on holiday!

Coronnials turn two and are going on holiday!
Coronnials turn two and are going on holiday!

Tips for travelling with a lockdown baby

There’s a festive fizz in the air as the end-of-year beckons. After more than two years of restricted travel and COVID lockdowns, South Africans are eager to kick back, relax and grab the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Many parents of two-year-olds (also affectionately known as Coronnials) are gearing up for their first holiday with their new addition to the family but their excitement is likely to include a little trepidation as well.

“Travelling with kids can be stressful, adding Coronnials to the mix is likely to be a little more challenging,” says Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group Hotels and Resorts (and a father of two). “These toddlers were stripped of the opportunity to socialise during the pandemic and many are not used to crowds. The incidental interactions (waving hello or bye-bye, playing peek-a-boo with strangers at the shops), seeing extended family and friends regularly or going to playgroups have not been as common for these little ones, with many parents continuing to exercise caution even after lockdown was lifted. It has, thus, also delayed long-awaited beach, berg or inland holidays.”

He adds that despite the stresses that come with travelling with toddlers, making magical, lasting memories with your little ones, makes it all worthwhile. “Going on holiday can be one of the most rewarding things that a family can do together, and if you plan correctly, you can eliminate a lot of the unwanted stress.”

He recommends five tips for travelling with little ones:

1. Choose your destination carefully, with your kids in mind: When deciding where to stay, choose a place close to home (no more than two-to-three hours’ drive away) to avoid extended travel times. By avoiding the dreaded airport chaos over the holiday season or being confined in the car for most of the day, you will have already eliminated a ton of stress! When comparing resorts, don’t only consider your budget, but look for destinations that offer sufficient activities to keep your littlies entertained (like a baby pool, jungle gym, pony rides or an indoor play area).

2. Opt for self-catering as opposed to a hotel: The idea of staying in a hotel may be attractive in theory, but the potentially volatile combination of a busy toddler, tantrums, late-night feeds, and neighbours in close proximity, can lessen the appeal. A self-catering unit offers your family the space, privacy, and flexibility to enjoy your holiday without the added stress of worrying about those in the adjacent room.

3. Be flexible in your expectations: Kids of any age, but especially those under five, can be unpredictable and even the most well-behaved cherubs can feel overwhelmed in a new environment. The best-laid plans often can (and will) go wrong, so it’s important to be flexible when planning activities and simply manage any curve balls as they arise. Stick to the same routine that you follow at home wherever possible – keeping play, eating, and sleeping times the same to minimise your kids feeling unsettled.

4. Be mindful of socially shy lockdown kids: If you have a socially shy toddler, give them time to “suss” out their surroundings, avoid peak times in public spaces like the pool and lead with validation and encouragement. They should settle down soon enough.

5. Take time out to relax and unwind: Find a resort that offers childminders on call so that you can also have some much-needed downtime. If your toddler isn’t comfortable with new faces, factor alternate ‘time outs’ into your itinerary for both mom and dad. Take turns babysitting while the other one catches up on much-needed sleep, plays a game of golf or goes to a spa.

“Holidaying with small children shouldn’t be stressful. All it takes is careful planning and a little patience to create magical and lasting memories that you will all treasure forever,” Shaun concludes.

Head on over to for more information on resorts and self-catering accommodation for stress-free holidays with your kids.